Green Tech goes local
I’m finishing up a two week east coast tour today in New York with my colleagues at Text 100 and thought I’d take a minute to see how local communities on this side of country are mobilizing around the environment. Look no further than the Lower Hudson Online and today’s story, New Rochelle gets suggestions for being greener. What’s going on in New Rochelle is similar to what’s happening across the country from small towns and schools to states and big businesses. Some are further along than others, but there’s a common thread in the way people are coming together to confront issues that have been ignored.
Here’s a look at some of the things New Rochelle’s seven-member Environmental Advisory Committee have proposed:
The city should consider various measures to protect the environment and should create a new position, perhaps a “director of sustainability,” to oversee the efforts, a committee suggested yesterday.
“We really should be following the lead of other major cities in the United States,” committee chairman Herbert Fox said of the suggestion.
Other ideas include planning to preserve and increase natural and grassy areas and recreation space, and converting sanitation trucks into hybrid electrical vehicles…The report suggests spreading the word about sustainability through a “Green Tech” education center, perhaps at the Oaks Environmental Center, using a Web site, free classes, newsletters and the city’s cable television station.
“A commitment to the environment will create economic opportunity, (reduce) operating costs and promote community health,” says the report from the seven-member committee, established by the City Council in June 2006.
In recommending new building standards, the committee said buildings should meet the criteria of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program of the U.S. Green Building Council.
The panel recommended hiring consultants to help write new building codes, taking cues from such organizations as the Green Building Council and the American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers.
“Now it’s a matter of taking it to the next step,” he said.
Nothing here is mind blowing or all that impressive. What is interesting is how representative this is of the challenge clean tech companies and businesses adopting more sustainable practices face when communicating to the public. The issues surrounding clean tech are global, national, local and regional. The decisions made in a city like New Rochelle could mean big deals for a renewable energy company looking to make a move into a new region like NY. But where do communications people with 100 options for telling a story start? Hit the mainstream to drive the future of your product and industry, or focused grassroots local campaigns that drive sales and incremental but significant progress? Probably a combination of the two.
One of Text 100’s clients, Fujifilm, made an announcement a few weeks ago that by 2008 it plans to power between 32 and 44 percent of its Greenwood, S.C., manufacturing facility with energy from methane gas, which will be converted into usable form and piped in from a nearby landfill. This is an example of an initiative that’s good for the local community and the environment but can also serve as a mainstream example for other companies and reach Fujifilm’s customers and shareholders who are interested in how the company is driving sustainability.
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